HIALEAH, Fla. – A federal grand jury indicted three men Thursday, after prosecutors accused them of smuggling Cuban migrants to a Hialeah “stash house,” where they were held for a $15,000 ransom.
Prosecutors allege that Didier Perez Perez, Lester Leyniel Soca Diaz and Yoandy Alonso were part of what they described as an “armed hostage-taking ring.”
According the U.S. Department of Justice, the three men would smuggle the migrants into the U.S. via the Florida Keys.
One group of migrants came to South Florida in August, according to a federal criminal complaint. That same document places the “stash house” at a home in the 1200 block of East Ninth Avenue.
“Migrants were threatened—to include being told they would be left in the middle of the ocean if their smuggling debts were not paid,” a U.S. Department of Justice news release said. “Law enforcement rescued the captured migrants and busted the alien transport ring by accompanying a victim’s friend to the hostage exchange point.”
According to the complaint, the men phoned family and friends of the victims, telling them they would not release them unless they got $15,000.
The complaint states that one victim told police that “he and the other victims were locked in a room and were not free to leave.”
The three men were charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor aliens for profit; transporting aliens for profit; conspiracy to commit hostage taking; and hostage taking, officials said.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Hialeah Police Department.
Read the full criminal complaint: